Today’s Horse Facts: The Lipizzaner

The Lipizzaner is known for its “ballet” dressage movements.

Today’s Horse Facts: The Lipizzaner

Gorgeous Lipizzaner in Dressage

I doubt whether any of us have ever touched a Lipizzan horse, let alone ride one. This breed is most known as an expensive, world renowned show horse that is trained in Austria to perform “ballets.”

When I was a child, my mother bought me probably my most favorite horse book of all times, Marguerite Henry’s Album of Horses, first published in 1951. On page 66 through to page 69, Ms. Henry describes the Lipizzan horse. An absolutely gorgeous painting on page 67 by Wesley Dennis shows a Lipizzan performing the capriole, one of the “ballet movements” these beautiful animals are trained to do. As I read about the Lipizzans again and again, I would picture myself sitting in the saddle, dreaming of riding one of these fantastic white steeds. As a child then and as an adult now, I’m still dreaming and always will, for the riders of the Spanish Riding School Lipizzans are a chosen lot and are an exclusive group of which us average folk will never be included.

So let’s have our T/F quiz and see exactly how much you know about the world famous Lipizzaners. Here we go:

1. The Lipizzaner has its roots in Carthage from 2000 years back.

2. The “Lipizzaner” breed actually got its name in the late 1500s when Maximilian II, emperor of Austria, crossed Arabians and Spanish mares with Andalusian blood.

3. The word “Lipizzan” comes from the town of Lipizza near the Adriatic Sea, where the first Lipizzans were foaled.

4. All Lipizzans must be “white.”

5. Grey Lipizzan foals are always born dark and turn lighter when they’re older.

6. Lipizzans are usually between 14.2 hands and 16.1 hands.

7. You have to go to Austria to buy a Lipizzan.

8. The world famous Spanish Riding School horses that perform all over the world are really trained in Austria.

9. Only six-year-old Lipizzan stallions are trained at the Spanish Riding School.

10. One of the beautiful ballet movements is called the “piaffe,” when the Lipizzan prances in place.

Let me know if you got at least eight of these questions correct. If so, then you are a Lipizzan expert! Here are the answers:

1. T

2. T

3. T

4. F  This is false for two reasons. Lipizzans come in different colors of brown and black, and the “white” ones aren’t really considered “white.” They are grey.

5. T

6. T

7. F  There are Lipizzan breeders all over the world; however, there are only about 3000 registered Lipizzans.

8. T

9. F  Lipizzan stallions can start their training at the Spanish Riding School when they are four years old.

10. T

Lipizzaner Performing the Levade

So how much do you know about the dazzling white Lipizzaners? If you want to learn more, look up these other websites to check on additional facts about the beautiful breed:

http://www.lipizzaner.com/home.asp

http://www.uslipizzan.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipizzan

Next time, we’ll take a ride to visit some Clydesdales.

Happy riding!

Marsha

http://www.marshahubler.com

Today’s Surprise Horse Facts: A Must See Video

Horse whisperer, Stacey Westfall, rides a mount with “no strings attached.”

One of the Most Beautful Rides I’ve Ever Seen

Hi, fellow horse facts lovers, yes, this post is much too early. The next one isn’t due until Thursday, September 22nd. However, every horse facts lover on the planet needs to see this amazing video of a  horse whisperer, Stacey Westfall, riding her gorgeous mount. I will admit that every time I watch this, I just sit and cry because it’s so beautiful.

 When you go to this site, click on the video clip on the right side under “Gallery” and “Thoreau’s Quote.”  You will be infatuated with this gorgeous demonstration of love between a girl and a horse. An amazing fact is that it isn’t her horse, but I think she should own it. This team is one!

http://www.westfallhorsemanship.com/

Let me know what you think.

Marsha

Today’s Horse Facts: Horse Whispering

Horse Whispering

Book 7. Keystone Stables

If you are constantly reading about horses and know a lot of horse facts about them, you probably realize that my seventh book, WHISPERING HOPE, is actually based on the fact that many horse behaviorists today train horses much differently than the majority of horsemen did just several decades ago.

We’ve all read Wild West stories or seen movies in which the cowpoke broke a wild horse by climbing onto his back and hanging on while the poor horse bucked until he was so exhausted, he could hardly stand. What that type of training did was break the horse’s spirit, and the horse learned to obey out of fear. Many bronco busters from the past also used whips, ropes, sharp spurs, and painful bits to make the horses respond, which they did only to avoid the pain.

Thankfully, the way many horses become reliable mounts has changed dramatically. Today, many horses are trained, not broken. The trainer communicates with the horse using herd language. Thus, the horse bonds with his trainer quickly, looks to that person as his herd leader, and is ready to obey his every command.

Thanks to Monty Roberts, the Horse Whisperer, and professional horse trainers like him, most raw or green horses (those that are just learning to respond to tack and a rider) are no longer “broken.”

Horses are now trained to accept the tack and rider in a short time with proven methods of horse whispering. Usually working in a round pen, the trainer begins by making large movements and noise as a predator would, encouraging the horse to run away. The trainer then gives the horse the choice to flee or bond. Through body language, the trainer asks the horse, “Will you choose me to be your herd leader and follow me?”

Usually, the horse responds with predictable herd behavior by twitching an ear toward his trainer, then by lowering his head and licking to display an element of trust. The trainer mocks the horse’s passive body language, turns his back on the horse, and, without eye contact, invites him to come closer. The bonding occurs when the horse chooses to be with the human and walks toward the trainer, thus accepting his leadership and protection.

Horse whispering has become one of the most acceptable, reliable, and humane ways to train horses. Today we have multitudes of rider and horse teams that have bonded in such a special way, both the rider and the horse enjoy each other’s company more than ever could have been imagined.

So, when you’re talking to your friends about horses, always remember to say the horses have been trained, not broken. The word “broken” is part of the horses past that should remain there forever.

Marsha Hubler
(website) www.marshahubler.com
(writers’ blog) www.marshahubler.wordpress.com
Author of the Keystone Stables Series